Ban Roundup

A DANGEROUS CHEMICAL COCKTAIL — The chemicals in Monsanto’s Roundup are seeping into our waterways, backyards and even the food we eat, putting our families and the environment at risk every day. We’re calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban Roundup unless and until it’s proven safe.

Monsanto’s Roundup Could Be Dangerous 

Most of us take it for granted that the food we buy for our families and the grass our children play on at a nearby park are not putting our health at risk.

But new research, including some done by the World Health Organization (WHO), has found that Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides could pose significant risks to human health.

Just how serious is the risk? The jury is still out, but there is cause for serious concern. One study by the WHO linked glyphosate — the main chemical ingredient in Roundup — to cancer at high levels of exposure. Another WHO report said the actual risk given probable exposure to glyphosate was minimal.

But Roundup is not just glyphosate. It’s a cocktail of different chemicals, and there’s mounting evidence that this cocktail could be a dangerous one:

  • Multiple studies have found herbicides like Roundup were more likely to cause cell-cycle dysregulation, a hallmark of cancer, than glyphosate alone. 
  • 2009 study showed that some formulations of Roundup were more toxic to human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells than glyphosate by itself. 
  • Another study found that one of the inert ingredients in Roundup was up to 2,000 times more toxic to cells than glyphosate.

It’s clear — we shouldn’t be exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such harm. But it’s the fact that Roundup and similar herbicides are so widely used that makes this a serious threat to public health.

Roundup Isn’t Getting The Job Done

Millions of people regularly use Roundup in their backyards, and it’s commonly sprayed in areas where kids play and learn, like public parks, school playgrounds and sports fields. 

But an overwhelming majority of the glyphosate used in America is on farms. That’s because Monsanto has engineered “Roundup ready” crops that are designed to withstand the chemical while still killing unwanted weeds. 

The problem, however, is that these weeds have grown resistant and developed into “super weeds.” Not surprisingly, the response has been to increase the dosage and frequency of Roundup used on crops. 

 

The result? Glyphosate is now the most widely used agricultural chemical in U.S. history. Nearly 250 million pounds of the chemical are sprayed on U.S. farms every year! And since it was introduced in 1974, 9.4 million tons of glyphosate have been sprayed worldwide.
 
Meanwhile, Monsanto continues to back the herbicide. At one time Monsanto claimed that Roundup was biodegradable. Studies show a different story, however, as these chemical ingredients are starting to show up in our food and bodies. A recent study discovered traces of glyphosate in the urine of 93 percent of the people they tested. It’s even showing up in foods like soy and beer
 
This is not a sustainable solution, and with the mounting evidence clearly showing the dangers of Roundup, it’s time to take action and ban Roundup unless and until it’s proven safe. 
 

Tell The EPA: Ban Roundup

It’s absurd that a weed killer — designed to make our lives more convenient and food production more efficient — should be allowed to put public health at risk. We know there are safe ways to get rid of weeds, including simple crop rotations, following organic farming practices, or just yanking them out of the backyard.
 
It’s time to ban Roundup. But Monsanto is not going to make it easy. Despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary, Monsanto is still saying Roundup is safe, and they are hard at work trying to convince the EPA that no further testing is required, and no restrictions on its use are needed. So far, the EPA has been receptive to Monsanto’s aims — not that long ago they increased what they considered to be a safe level of glyphosate. 
 
We need your help to call on the EPA to ban Roundup unless and until independent research proves it’s safe. 
 

 
Image credits: Mike Mozart via Flickr, CC BY 2.0; Chafer Machinery via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Issue updates

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Chain Reaction IV

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A Citizen's Guide to Reducing Energy Waste

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Austin Leads Major Texas Cities in Recycling Rate, Statewide Rate Lags Behind National Average

AUSTIN – Texas’ recycling rate of 22% is well below the 34% national average, according to a Trash in America:  Moving from Destructive Consumption to a Zero-Waste System, a new TexPIRG report detailing the effects of overconsumption in America, including water contamination, air pollution, habitat destruction, and global warming. The report also examines how good policies can minimize the proliferation of waste and incentivize reduction, repairs, reuse, recycling, and composting.

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CONSUMER GUIDE RELEASED FOR VALENTINE'S DAY: RESEARCH SHOWS SOME LIPSTICKS CONTAIN HARMFUL CHEMICALS

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State representative facing ethics questions

In what appears to be a clear-cut ethics violations by a longtime state legislator, Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Director highlights how there is no way for State Rep. Jim Murphy to represent his constituents as a taxpayer-funded representative and a taxpayer-funded lobbyist at the same time. 

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After Apple Slows Phones, Interest In Repair Spikes in Texas

A new survey released by TexPIRG shows that interest in additional phone repair options surged as battery issues with iPhones made headlines.

Findings show that we throw out 33,300 phones each day in Texas, highlighting need for expanded access to repair.

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- A new survey released today by TexPIRG, “Recharge Repair,” found a surge in consumer demand for phone repair following the revelation Apple was slowing phones with older batteries. “Recharge Repair” identifies the barriers to battery replacement and phone repair that add to long repair delays for consumers. The findings support the need for Right to Repair reforms to grant consumers and third parties access to the parts and tools to repair cell phones and other electronics.

Among the findings were:

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-       eWaste is a growing concern. Texas throws out an estimated 33,300 cell phones per day, our share of the 141 million phones tossed each year.

“We should be free to fix our stuff,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG director. “We should be working to reduce needless waste – repairing things that still have life -- but companies use their power to make things harder to repair. This survey shows that people are clearly looking for more options to repair their phones.”

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News Release | TexPIRG | Antibiotics

New Campaign Calls on McDonald’s to Hold the Antibiotics from Their Meat Supply Chain

AUSTIN, Thursday, January 25, 2018:  The consumer and public health advocacy organization TexPIRG Education Fund is calling on McDonald’s to commit to a concrete timeline to phase out routinely using medically-important antibiotics in its beef and pork supply chains. The TexPIRG Education Fund and its partner groups are singling out the iconic fast food company because McDonald’s has an outsized influence as the biggest purchaser of beef in the United States, and it has a vague long-term antibiotics plan. Health experts, including the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics, warn that the routine use of antibiotics on animals that aren’t sick fuels drug-resistant bacteria, a major health threat to humans.

“Protecting antibiotics requires action, not reaction. If we don’t act now to preserve the effectiveness of these medicines, we’ll face a world in which common infections once again kill” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG Education Fund. “The Big Mac can make a big dent in stopping the misuse of antibiotics in our food system.”

“Many hospitals now purchase meat and poultry produced without antibiotics because of the growing number of problems associated with overuse of these medicines in food production. Using antibiotic-free meat helps to both preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics and move our food system towards a healthier and more sustainable future,” Diane Papillion, MPH, RD. Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility

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Following the Money 2014

This report, TexPIRG Education Fund’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information.

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A Year of Progress

As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified. Despite USDA and FDA regulations leaving consumers in the dark, many companies have been responding independantly to the overwhelming consumer support for GMO labeling.

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Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints

This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection, with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints.

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A New Course

Universities and colleges across the country are taking steps to encourage their communities, students, faculty and staff to decrease their reliance on personal vehicles. These efforts are working well – saving money for universities, improving the quality of life in college towns, and giving today’s students experience in living life without depending on a personal car.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

U.S. House Considers Trojan Horse Bill To Weaken Credit Bureau Laws | Ed Mierzwinski

What would you do if you knew that the Big 3 credit bureaus were in the Top 5 of complaint leaders to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and that their mistake-ridden reports caused consumers to either be denied jobs or pay more for or be denied credit due to those mistakes? Well, if you were the leadership of the House Financial Services Committee, you'd consider not one, but two bills to make this worse by eliminating strong consumer protections and eliminating some and limiting other damages payable to consumers when credit bureaus wreck their lives. You'd hide a massive weakening of consumer protections inside a Trojan Horse bill that claims to be about letting the credit bureaus help people.

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Recently released minutes of the July meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, comprised of Fed governors and regional Fed Bank presidents, show its concern that Wall Street reform rollbacks proposed by Congress, Treasury Department and the White House could allow "a reemergence of the types of risky practices that contributed to the crisis." Meanwhile, Fed vice-chair Stanley Fisher repeated his warnings that risks from the proposed rollbacks were "mind-boggling."

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Newly-revealed details by the New York Times about of the crash of two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes may stun even the most hardened observer. The planes lacked a safety feature that may have warned pilots about problems because it was not required and Boeing charged airlines extra to include it. Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog issued the following statement.

News Release | TexPIRG

Reacting to pervasive lead contamination in schools’ drinking water, Environment Texas and TexPIRG gave Texas an F grade today for addressing the problem, according to a new national report. The group announced support for legislation by Rep. James Talarico to ensure lead-free water in Texas schools and daycares.

“Schools should be safe places for our kids to learn and play, but Texas is still failing to protect our kids from lead in drinking water,” said Bay Scoggin, Director of the Texas Public Interest Research Group(TexPIRG). “We need policies that actually get the lead out of faucets and fountains in our schools and pre-schools.”

Report | TexPIRG

Over the past five years, the tragedy of Flint, Michigan has stunned the nation. We watched the drinking water of an entire city become contaminated with lead. And, we know now that this toxic threat extends well beyond Flint to communities across the country.

In fact, test results now show that lead is even contaminating drinking water in schools and pre-schools — flowing from thousands of fountains and faucets where our kids drink water every day.

In all likelihood, the confirmed cases of lead in schools’ water are just the tip of the iceberg. Most schools have at least some lead in their pipes, plumbing, or fixtures. And where there is lead, there is risk of contamination.1

The health threat of lead in schools’ water deserves immediate attention from state and local policymakers for two reasons. First, lead is highly toxic and especially damaging to children — impairing how they learn, grow, and behave. So, we ought to be particularly vigilant against this health threat at schools and pre-schools, where our children spend their days learning and playing.

Second, current regulations are too weak to protect our children from lead-laden water at school. Federal rules only apply to the roughly ten percent of schools and pre-schools that are considered to be their own Public Water Systems.2 At schools not considered to be a Public Water System, there is no federal rule protecting kids from exposure to lead in schools’ drinking water. While the latest edition of the EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Centers recommends that schools reduce lead to the “lowest possible concentration,” unless a state’s law directs schools to adhere to it, this guidance is not enforceable.3 Moreover, even when federal rules do apply to a school, they only require remediation when testing confirms lead concentrations in excess of 15 parts per billion at ten percent or more of taps sampled, even though medical and public health experts agree that there is no safe level of lead for our children.4 The error of this approach is compounded by the fact that testing, even when properly done, often fails to detect maximum lead levels in water coming out of the tap.

Unfortunately, so far, most states are failing to protect children from lead in schools’ drinking water. Our review of 32 states’ laws and regulations finds:

Several states, including Texas, have no requirements for schools and pre-schools to address the threat of lead in drinking water.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Public health and environmental groups urge EPA to deny antibiotic use on citrus.

Blog Post

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Glyphosate in beer and wine

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Driving into debt

The hidden costs of risky auto loans to consumers and our communities

 
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We're calling on the EPA to ban Monsanto's Roundup unless and until independent research proves it's safe. Let's hold them accountable.

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